K-pop stars to perform in North Korea in art troupe visit

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The operations had been postponed from their usual start in March to avoid clashing with the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang in which North Korea played an unprecedented part.

A ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of department rules, said there are no immediate plans to bring in American strategic assets such as aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines or supersonic B-1B bombers during this spring's training.

The Pentagon said the United Nations Command has notified North Korea's military of the upcoming exercises.

South Korea said Tuesday it will send a 160-member artistic group to North Korea, including about 10 celebrated K-Pop singers, for rare concerts there. Kim also offered to meet personally with President Donald Trump to discuss giving up his nuclear weapons on unspecified terms, and Trump quickly agreed.

The announcement comes after Trump and Kim agreed to discuss denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula in the first face-to-face talks between a North Korean leader and a US president.

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The larger of the two exercises, Foal Eagle, is a field training exercise with about 11,500 us troops and about 290,000 South Korean troops, according to a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan.

"Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and the Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo have agreed to resume the annual combined exercises including Foal Eagle and Key Resolve which were de-conflicted with the schedule of the Olympic Games". The North has often responded to the drills with its own military actions, and previous year fired four ballistic missiles close to Japan.

Last year, in response to the drills, the North fired off four ballistic missiles close to Japan, in what it said was training for strikes on US military bases in the country. Last year, Foal Eagle began on March 1 and continued until the end of April, lasting a total of two months. "Now it's a dialogue mode so they are trying to keep pace with that", said Choi Kang, vice president of Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies. -South Korean military exercises would continue this year. The last girl group to perform in North Korea was Baby V.O.X in 2003, and Red Velvet expressed, "We're honored and happy to attend such a meaningful event".

Pyongyang has not confirmed the exchange and threatened earlier this month to take "counteraction" if the United States and South Korea went ahead with the exercises.

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